Encyclopedia of World Problems - Archived Information

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Any form of international "mobilization of public opinion" (using the conventional military metaphor), to engender the much sought "political will to change", is dependent upon communication. This is especially the case when the insights required to guide that change are complex, counter-intuitive or simply not clearly communicable within any one conceptual language.

The purpose of this project is therefore to review the range of communication possibilities and constraints of metaphor, pattern and symbol. This is partly in response to the narrow focus of recent major intergovernmental initiatives under the extremely misleading titles of  "International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems" (limited to the mass media) and the "International Communications Year" (telecommunications hardware) by UNESCO and ITU respectively. It is however a direct consequence of participation by the editors in the Forms of Presentation project of the Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development project of the United Nations University.


The procedures used in preparing this section are discussed in detail in a commentary.


Detailed discussion is given in the commentary. As a whole the projects provides a framework within which to review alternative ways of interrelating items of information to facilitate comprehension and communication.


The contents of this project may be considered as complementing the other projects in ways such as the following:

  • Human development: By the manner in which human development options are communicated, and through the evolution of forms of communication following efforts to communicate new insights into human development possibilities.
  • Integrative knowledge: By the manner in which integrative knowledge is communicated, and through the evolution of forms of communication to reflect new aspects of integration.
  • World problems: By the problems of communication in a global society, and by the need to communicate the complex nature of world problems.
  • Transformative approaches: By the evolution of communication techniques (especially in meetings), and by the need to communicate innovative techniques.
  • Human values: By the manner in which human values are communicated, and through the intrinsic value of communication in maintaining the fabric of global society.